London: Brendan Rodgers enjoyed a rampant victory over his former side as Liverpool cruised past Swansea City in Sunday`s only Premier League match.
The Reds ended their five-game winless run in emphatic fashion as a dominant performance moved them up to seventh in the table and also marked their first victory of the season against top-half opposition.
Skipper Steven Gerrard converted a first-half spot kick before second-half goals from Philippe Coutinho, Jose Enrique, Luis Suarez and a Daniel Sturridge penalty rewarded the hosts for a commanding display.
Liverpool headed into proceedings making three changes from their 2-0 Europa League defeat to Zenit on Thursday. Daniel Agger replaced Martin Skrtel in defence, while Sturridge returned from injury and Coutinho was handed his full debut.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, meanwhile, clearly had one eye on next weekend`s Capital One Cup final as he made seven changes, resting the likes of Michu and Ashley Williams and handing starting berths to Itay Shechter and Kyle Bartley.
The Reds oozed confidence from the off and it was Sturridge who came closest to breaking the deadlock early on as he fired a header inches over the bar before the former Chelsea man latched on to a great long ball in the Swansea area and was brought down after some twists and turns.
Referee Howard Webb waved away any penalty appeals, however, while Coutinho fired the follow-up shot just wide from close range.
But Liverpool`s superiority soon paved a breakthrough as Gerrard whipped a corner in on 34 minutes and Suarez received the ball in the area only to be brought down by Kemy Agustien. Webb took a long look at his linesman, but this time showed no hesitation in pointing straight to the spot.
And it was the captain who stepped up, picking the opposite corner to the one he chose when missing last week against West Brom. Vorm went the right way, but the England midfielder dispatched his spot kick with aplomb and Liverpool had their first ever Premier League goal against Swansea.
Sturridge then threatened once more but was unable to add to the home side`s tally as a half of sheer Liverpool dominance came to its conclusion.
But it took the Reds just 16 seconds after the restart before they had their second. The visitors lost possession in the middle of the park and Suarez played a superb through ball to Coutinho, who embarked upon a fantastic run and beat Vorm from inside the area with palpable ease.
The Reds weren`t done there as Sturridge and Enrique then combined to perfection, advancing into the box with a series of one-two passes before the Spaniard thumped his finish into the roof of the net.
Suarez compounded the away side’s misery on 56 minutes with a fine turn and run before placing the ball in the bottom left corner.
And the rout was completed a quarter of an hour later as the hosts were awarded their second penalty of the game and Sturridge duly tucked it away for his fourth goal in five league games after Gerrard had unselfishly handed him the ball.
First Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013, 23:02